British Museum: So You Think You've Got It Bad? A Kid's Life in Ancient Rome

British Museum: So You Think You've Got It Bad? A Kid's Life in Ancient Rome

By Author / Illustrator

Chae Strathie, Marisa Morea


Non Fiction

Age range(s)



Nosy Crow Ltd




Paperback / softback




Part of Nosy Crow's list of publishing in collaboration with the British Museum and developed in consultation with one of the world's leading experts on Ancient Rome. This has witty, carefully researched text, packed with historical facts, by award-winning author Chae Strathie, brought to life with rich, humorous illustrations by super-talented Marisa Morea.

Written by award-winning author Chae Strathie and developed in consultation with experts from the British Museum, this fascinating book reveals what life was really like for kids in ancient Rome, from washing clothes in wee to snacking on dormice . . . and even fighting in gladiatorial combat! Packed with facts and fantastic illustrations, this funny and accessible introduction to ancient Rome is a must-read for kids with a passion for horrible history.

Other books in the series include:  Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Aztec Age, Prehistoric Times, Medieval Castle and Vikings.



This is a simply brilliant non-fiction guide to every aspect of Roman life . The book compares the 'hard life' of a modern day child to that of a young Roman and really does make the reader stop and count their blessings! The layout is hugely appealing. There are clear, colourful sections with bright, bold illustrations. The narrative is an informal,chatty style which is funny and engaging to read and I especially like the way in which the author seems as shocked/impressed/amused by the facts they write as we are as readers! The ingredients listed in a Roman woman's make up would indeed make you reach for a 'sick bucket'! The book is absolutely full of facts and information about Roman life - who knew that honey-dipped dormice was a Roman snack and that slaves had to sleep in the doorways of their master's rooms? I'm looking forward to adding this to the school library and think it will be very popular! 64 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Jenny Caddick, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 7+


So You Think You've Got It Bad? A Kid's Life in Ancient Rome is the third in a series from Nosy Crow and the British Museum, with Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece having already been covered. These books have a very Horrible Histories vibe, but the larger format and colour illustrations throughout make them more eye-catching for younger readers and better for sharing with a friend or classmate. The bright covers will look fab on my library shelves.

Divided into useful and relevant short chapters, such as 'Clothes and Hairstyles' and 'Health and Medicine&', each section includes a winning mix of (mainly disgusting) facts, jokes and comparisons to modern life (hence the 'So you think you've got it bad?' part of the title). In the first page alone, we learn that a mixture made from ant's eggs was used to blacken eyebrows and squished snails mixed with a bean broth was a popular face cream. Children will also enjoy comparing their school lives and sports and hobbies to their ancient counterparts.

As an adult reader, the relentlessly silly writing-style can be wearing and personally I'd have preferred a higher facts:jokes ratio. General scene-setting features such as a timeline and map would also have been welcome. However, I'm sure the target audience will be thoroughly entertained and will whizz through these books at top speed.

64 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Carol Carter, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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